The website and blog of writer Austin Wilson. Comics and prose. Stories from wherever they can be found.

Revisiting the Revisited

Revisiting the Revisited

There is a graveyard I keep with me, a place I bury all the subjects I've adored or worshiped up until I ran out of energy to do so. Occasionally the subjects themselves were responsible for the light going out, other times it was all me. More often than not there seemed to be no reason. The earliest example I can remember is the Ninja Turtles.

I would pretend I was Michelangelo, flopping around in vaguely Karate-like poses, swinging the little nunchaku that came with a 14" figure I had. Even back then the bright orange, plastic weapon was too small for my hands, but I worked with what I had.

While standing in my grandma's bathroom as a boy, looking into my own eyes in the mirror, I made a promise to myself that I would never stop pretending to be Michelangelo; I'd never cease living in the world of the turtles, built up around myself with imagination, but as real to me as anything I could touch.

Of course probably a year or two later I was done walking around while pretending I was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. What world had I moved over to inhabiting? It's probably not a surprise.

Star Wars is such a massive thing - here I mean for me, I'm not even referring to the rest of the planet's relationship to it - and this post would be taken over with investigating how irrevocably it's changed me (and continues to), so I'll just say this: Star Wars was the biggest thing for me from the ages of probably 5 until 15.

Another big deal was professional wrestling. I had action figures, plastic wrestling rings for them to bounce around in, finger puppets you could fight with (sort of), and yes, Wrestling Buddies. There were plenty of times when I jumped off bunk beds, couches, and playground sets while pretending to be Hulk Hogan, the Macho Man Randy Savage, and on and on.

In the middle of high school I stopped watching professional wrestling. Nothing happened to engender this, or nothing I can remember. It sort of just went away from my daily life. Recently it occurred to me that I'd gone through multiple stages of my wrestling love. It started when I was very young, maybe between the ages of 5 and 8, hit me again around 10, and lasted until I was about 17.

Same for the Turtles, though to a much lesser degree. I was devoted for at least three or four years, then cooled slightly in junior high, while still playing with the toys (and building massive Lincoln Log towns for them), and then they dropped out of mind until I was at least in my mid-twenties, thanks to comic artist Mateus Santolouco.

Something similar happened with Star Wars. I went through a few years of lesser adulation, and then in late high school moved further away from that world than I've ever been (kind of due to depression, probably also due to feeling disconnected from the new movies). I came back though. Just like I did with the Turtles, and now, like I feel I am with professional wrestling. Again.

Not that I'm currently obsessed with the WWE, or find myself jumping off things after doing some kind of weird semaphore to indicate my "finishing move" is forthcoming. But I've returned to this thing I held dear, and found it to be complex and as interesting, and then some, as the world I inhabited in my past. All those times built something up which was waiting for me to build upon, stacking whatever I could build with the materials I'd accrued from living more.

The idea of revisiting things I've already revisited seemed odd. The fear was that I couldn't grow, though that fear went away quickly. What I think is actually happening is I'm internalizing my loves, they're staying with me even through hatred and disinterest, snuggled away somewhere, waiting. Pieces of them may reappear, or they may aid me in my interest and love of the newly discovered worlds I'm hopefully coming across all the time.

Although I carry around a graveyard of all these things I've loved in the past, sometimes loved so passionately I could think of nothing else, they're all on the verge of living again, or living forever, or being reborn in something brand new.

This message brought to you by Shinsuke Nakamura.